Thursday, January 7, 2010

Resolution Busters: Never Fail Fudge & Scotch Shortbread


Happy New Year everyone!

It’s cold in Minnesota. Last week we reached an air temperature of -20 with wind chills of about -40 in parts of the state. It’s so cold that Murphy barely has time to get off the deck to go to the bathroom before his feet freeze and he needs to be rescued from the backyard. For a dog that loves to just go outside, sit on the deck, and watch the world go by this is not a good time of year. It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to put on sweats and curl up on the couch with a heavy blanket and a good book or a movie.

This is also the time of year that health clubs are packed with people who made it their New Year’s resolution to finally get in shape and lose weight. Binging on things such as fudge and cookies during the holidays give us strength to brave the cold and wait in line for a treadmill so that we can plug away at our resolution. But how long does that last before we realize it’s so much warmer at home in front of the TV and we end up abandoning our resolution all together? And chances are there will still be some lingering holiday goodies at home to snack on while watching other people exercise on The Biggest Loser. But not at my house! The holiday season was a great excuse to try a bunch of the recipes from the box and give them away as gifts.

Two of those recipes were Never Fail Fudge and Scotch Shortbread. I love that the fudge is called “never fail” because it’s so true – chocolate never lets us down (well, unless we’re trying really hard to keep those resolutions, but just can’t stop from having a second piece…or third…or fourth…). I’ve never made fudge before and, aside from having to run to the store in the middle of the process for more ingredients because I didn’t have as much as I thought, this was pretty easy to make. I don’t recommend keeping these ingredients in the house, because the recipe is so easy that it would be really tempting to make another batch when you’re suffering from chocolate deprivation.

The wonderful thing about chocolate is that it goes with everything, especially shortbread. I made the Scotch Shortbread recipe for a cookie exchange with some friends before the holidays. We all made our dough the night before and then met at a friend’s house to bake the cookies, eat snacks, drink mimosas and socialize. And, of course, we had to taste all the cookies as they came out of the oven. We had a delicious selection of cookies to choose from. In addition to the Scotch Shortbread we had spritz cookies, walnut crescents, and snickerdoodles. And my friend Sara brought dipping chocolate so we dipped some of the spritz and shortbread in the chocolate, which turned great cookies into a truly divine treat. 

The cold isn’t expected to vacate the area for a while so I’m going to have to muster up the energy to join the masses at the health club despite the threat of nearly instant frostbite. I wish I could bring Murphy with me because the poor dog has a serious case of cabin fever. Every time he begs to go outside, I think he’s hoping that summer has magically appeared and he’ll be greeted by a blast of warm air when I open the door. I wish I had a shred of my dog’s optimism. Instead, I need to find other ways to motivate myself. The recent celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of a new one had me thinking seriously about life and goals. A year of unemployment not only made a serious dent in my bank account, but my self esteem and overall mood took a dramatic hit as well. So after some soul searching and more antique treasure hunting, I came up with another portion to this project. But I’ll leave you guessing about what it could be until my next post…

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